Plokštinė was an underground missile base of the Soviet Union. This is the first nuclear missile base of the Soviet Union, an underground R-12 Dvinaballistic medium-range missile base. In 2012, the Cold War Museum was opened at the site.
At the time when the United States started building underground military bases, it was decided that the Soviet Union had to maintain its military advantage. Therefore, in September 1960, the Soviets started rapid construction of an underground military base, one of the first in the Soviet Union, near the village of Plokščiai. The chosen location was 160 metres above sea level and it could cover all of Europe, including Turkey and southern European countries. In 1960, more than 10,000 Soviet soldiers started secret works in the Žemaitija National Park that took two years. The costs of construction were comparable to the costs of building a city district or a small town.
The base was one of the top Soviet military secrets that was revealed by U.S. reconnaissance only in 1978. The base boasted of a network of tunnels and included four deep shafts that have a depth between 27 to 34 meters. They were covered by the concrete domes that could be moved aside on rails in 30 minutes. The base could stay autonomous for 15 days, or for 3 hours if also hermetically sealed. The surrounding electric fence was normally connected to 220 V, with a possibility to raise the voltage to 1700 in case of alert. The active team consisted of about 300 people, most of them military guards.
The base included four silos that housed R-12 Dvina missiles with nuclear warheads. These missiles were propelled using a medium-range liquid. They weighed more than 40 tones, including 1,500-kilogram warhead. These surface-to-surface missiles had a radius of a little less than 2,500 kilometres. No missiles, even for tests, were launched from the base.
After twelve years of operations, the site was shut down. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the site has been abandoned and not maintained. It has been visited by urban explorers, also suffered from numerous metal thefts. After the reconstruction in 2012, the former base site now hosts the Cold War Museum, opening one of the four existing silos for visitors.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.